CAERPHILLY town mayor and local councillor Steve Kent is flexing his golfing muscles in preparation for the first defence of his American Golf Long Drive Championship on Friday.

More than a thousand golfers nationwide have been fighting through qualifying over the last four months in an effort to make it through to the final and the chance to take on big hitting Kent in the over-45 category.

This year’s final has the added incentive of being the official UK qualifier for the World Long Drive Championship, where the event winner will represent American Golf and tournament sponsor Garmin.

Competition is set to be fierce at the 2016 final with several qualifying distances exceeding last year’s winning drives.

With a fantastic prize on the line, Kent knows he will have to be at his best in this year’s final.

“I’ve had an incredible year as the American Golf Long Drive champion,” he said.

“Going to the World Championships to represent Garmin and American Golf was the highlight and I know I’ll have to be on my best form against some really tough competition to get back there.”

Daniel Gathercole, director of marketing and communications at American Golf said: “Our reigning champions have been incredible ambassadors for American Golf, Garmin and the game as a whole.

“If we get a set of winners for 2016 with such dedication to growing and enjoying the game of golf then I’ll be delighted,”

The American Golf Long Drive Championship final is free to attend and spectators are welcome to add to the party atmosphere expected on the night at High Legh Park Golf Club in Knutsford, Cheshire.

Entry to all of the American Golf Championships, including the American Golf Long Drive, 9 Hole, Junior, Ladies and Senior Championships, is free.

This is part of the nationwide retailer’s drive to promote the game of golf and get more people out playing golf more often.

Kent will also be in action in the national final of the American Golf 9 Hole Championship at Ryder Cup venue The Belfry on September 9.

He and playing partner Delfi Rhys made the final after qualifying at Pyle and Kenfig Golf Club last month.

After that success Kent said: “The Long Drive was great fun last year so I wanted to try another of American Golf’s championships.

“The 9 Hole at Pyle and Kenfig was a superb event and I really can’t wait to get to the Belfry to compete with the best nine-hole golfers from across the country.

“I’ll have defended my Long Drive title by then too so hopefully the nine-hole will make it three titles out of three.”